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In 2017 we can expect more of the same as he has a further three sure-fire funny films due out later this year – House, in which he and his wife (Amy Poehler) operate a casino in their basement, Zeroville, a sixties based Hollywood story and Daddy’s Home 2, a sequel to the 2015 original – while filming has already started on next year’s Sherlock comedy Holmes and Watson. Where these releases find themselves on the Ferrell all-time classic list remains to be seen. Hardly surprising given that it is quite some list for the comedy A lister.
Born in Irvine California, John William Ferrell took his first comedic steps with the comedy improvisation group, The Grindlings which led to him being drafted into the Saturday Night Live cast, thrusting him into the national limelight. Having found small parts on TV over the nineties, things for Ferrell skyrocketed in the new millennium following his role as Mugatu in Ben Stiller’s Zoolander which was finally rewarded with a sequel last year. A year later he made Old School which, although hardly a ground-breaking or original narrative, told the story of bored grownups missing their college days. Later that year, however, he released a film that found its way into legend as he sewed himself into the very fabric of Christmas.
From 2003, the festive season changed for all of us following the release of Elf in which he portrayed Buddy, a human who accidently ends up living with Santa and his elves until Buddy’s obvious size gives the game away and he makes the shocking discovery that he is not an elf after all. What follows is a fish out of water festive funathon as the elf tries to navigate New York life and connect with his dad, whom just so happens to be on the naughty list. Now, for the public audience, no home can have a proper Christmas without watching this Crimbo classic. OK, it’s not law – but it should be.
Having found international fame, the roles started to come thick and fast and, in 2004, he hit the jackpot again with his finest movie character in one of the funniest comedy films ever put to screen. In Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy, Ferrell plays the title role and sets the blue print for the new wave of crazy comedy that was championed in the noughties. From its ultra-stinky Sex Panther aftershave to the underground network TV news team gang wars, missing limbs, dog abuse (not real), this was silliness at its best. Ferrell pins it all together with the absurd Burgundy and literally spawns dozens of quotes, a volume of which is matched only by the unrelated Sasha Baron Cohen title Borat. Ferrell’s near breakdown marks the passing golden age of male led news teams and into a scary new era that has, god forbid, women in the work place, lampooning male insecurity perfectly.
Other notable career high points include The Internship, The Campaign, Megamind (voice), Get Hard, The Other Guys, Land of the Lost, Blades of Glory, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and the brilliant Lego Movie, which will also, surely receive a second outing before too long.
I am quite sure the upcoming releases will further add to the growing legend, whether it’s the Daddy’s Home sequel or The House. Fresh new ideas are usually more exciting so The House, in particular looks intriguing. Intriguing if entirely unnecessary. I say this because the film centres on a husband and wife team who accidentally blow their daughter’s college fund and so open up a casino in their basement. While there is a lot of money to be made in casinos, there is a lot of money to made playing at online casinos and mobile too. Where all the usual games, jackpots and prize pools are on offer. Had the silly pair in the film used an online casino (where US law permits) then they might have made the money back at half the hustle. But then, movies are made and designed around their their plot holes and, let’s face it, a film about people playing at online casinos, fun as they might be, would not make for a great movie story, which we thoroughly expect The House to be.
Away from films, Ferrell runs Funny Or Die.com which he also co-founded to showcase off-beat comedy sketches and videos, as well as being a regular on Saturday Night Live in the United States. Pair this with his political stand-up routine, see George “Dubya” Bush, and you can see why he has carved out a special place in the hearts of, not just his fans, but film goers the world over.